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Spending Bills Leave Conservatives Frustrated

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), House Freedom Caucus Chairman, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017.

Lawmakers have been passing spending bills with unusual speed and little fanfare lately, most recently the $854 billion package covering the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education that sailed through the Senate Tuesday.

The ease with which these huge spending bills are passing isn’t sitting well with some conservatives in Congress, according to The Hill. “It’s a little bit frustrating right now,” said Rep. Mark Walker, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Walker warned last week that members of his caucus may not support the Senate bill when the House returns next week.

The conservative Club for Growth expressed the frustration many conservatives are feeling in a statement in response to the Senate bill, saying that “it reaffirms the budget-busting deal that Congress passed earlier this year. It completely ignores the trillion dollar annual and perpetual deficits that are fast approaching. … In typical DC fashion, politicians in both parties settled their differences by just spending more money.”

The bottom line: While conservatives may be frustrated with the spending bills moving through a Republican-controlled Congress, there’s probably not much they can do about it, given the broad bipartisan agreement to raise spending next year. “I don’t know that conservatives have a whole lot of leverage here, so I haven’t given it as much thought as I have given to other things,” said Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, suggested that the spending ship had already sailed: “The spending levels are always an issue for me personally, but we also had an agreement on what those would be this year,” Lankford said. “The time to be able to fight out what you’re going to do on the spending levels is earlier, before you make the agreement on what’s going to happen.”

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